This year Tisha B’Av falls out on Shabbos. Since we do not allow fasting or aveilus on Shabbos, Tisha B’Av is observed the following day. The halachos for a pushed-off Tisha B’Av differ a bit from those of a regular Tisha B’Av.
The Shulchan Aruch writes (Orach Chayim 559:9) that one who makes a bris milah on Sunday on a pushed-off Tisha B’Av may eat and wash his body after Mincha since it is a Yom Tov for him (the same applies to his wife, the mohel, and the sandek). If he makes it on a regular Tisha B’Av, though, he may not eat or wash his body.
When Tisha B’Av is pushed off, we must make sure to say havdalah in shemoneh esrei or say “baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol” before performing melachah. We may only say havdalah over a cup of wine on Sunday night, after the fast. We do say a berachah on a fire on Motzei Shabbos, however, if possible.
(If a person will not be fasting on Sunday for whatever reason, he should say havdalah on a cup prior to eating. A man who is fasting may recite havdalah for a woman who is not fasting, and she can drink the wine for him. He has no further obligation to say havdalah again on Sunday night.)
On a regular Tisha B’Av, a person (even a small child) may not study most areas of Torah because “pekudei Hashem yesharim mesamchei lev – the Torah is just and brings joy to one’s heart.” He may, however, study parts of the Torah that discuss the churban and aveilus. The Rema writes (Orach Chayim 553:2) that it is also customary not to study Torah on Erev Tisha B’Av starting from chatzos. If Erev Tisha B’Av falls out on Shabbos, we should not learn the Pirkei Avos that is customarily learned on Shabbos afternoon, he writes.
However, many Acharonim disagree. The Mishnah Berurah cites the Taz who argues that studying Torah is permitted at this time and concludes that one can rely on this opinion since there are opinions that one may study Torah on Erev Tisha B’Av even if it does not fall out on Shabbos.
The Biur Halacha, for example, cites the Ma’amar Mordechai who rules that one may study Torah on Erev Tisha B’Av. In fact, the Ma’amar Mordechai states that if he weren’t afraid, he would permit studying Torah on Tisha B’Av itself. He says that in any event people do not mourn on Tisha B’Av the way they should (he lived in the late 1700’s). They go out to the markets and speak about mundane matters (sichos chulin); he argues that it is clearly better to study Torah than to do these things. He maintains that the Chachamim only forbade studying Torah so that people can properly mourn for the churban habayis. If they aren’t doing that, though, we should allow them to study Torah. He concludes that he won’t permit studying Torah on Tisha B’Av itself since doing so is a clear prohibition. He does, however, permit studying Torah on Erev Tisha B’Av even if it falls out during the week.
He states further that certainly one is permitted to study Torah on Shabbos when Tisha B’Av falls on that day since there is no reason not to permit doing so. In response to the Magen Avraham’s opinion that since we can study select Torah subjects (related to mourning), there’s no reason to permit studying Torah in general, he argues that many people do not study these subjects with the same intensity as they do subjects they regularly study. As the adage goes, a person only learns what his heart desires.
There are some who forbid studying even permitted Torah subjects in a deep manner (derech pilpul). However, the Kaf Hachaim (Orach Chaim siman 553:17) says in the name of the Chasam Sofer that when Tisha BA’v falls out on Shabbos, one may learn these subjects intensely.
Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, has been quoted as ruling that father/son learning programs should also convene on a Shabbos which is Erev Tisha B’Av.
May we be zoche to be mourn the churban and be zoche to see the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash. Amen.Rabbi Raphael Fuchs